The Telegraph has reported: “BBC Radio 4 will no longer be required to broadcast religious services, science shows or arts programming under plans drawn up by the new regulator Ofcom, The Telegraph has learnt. After being petitioned by the BBC to reduce the number of rules designed to ensure it meets public service obligations, Ofcom plans to cut radio programming requirements across its schedules from more than 200 to only 20. The rules were introduced in 2007 as part of a drive to ensure the BBC catered for the widest audience. But now the corporation is likely to be required to follow a much smaller number of targets, freeing Radio 4 of rules insisting on regular coverage of consumer affairs, education, health, business, farming and disability.” Read more here

A Countryside Alliance spokesman commented: “We have always maintained an open line of communication across all BBC platforms and will continue to do so. With 20% of the population living in rural areas we are confident that BBC R4 will continue to offer farming content via programmes such as Farming Today and the Today programme, not because guidance tells them they have to but because as a publicly funded platform Radio 4 will recognise that farming is the countryside’s backbone socially and economically and of huge national significance.”